Relativity Media announced today that it has struck a deal with Lionsgate to acquire the North American distribution rights for Machine Gun Preacher, a fact-based thriller starring Gerard Butler and directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace). According to Relativity's press release, the film features a "tour de force" performance from Butler, and has thus been slapped with a September 23, 2011 release date -- prime awards-season territory. The effusive praise for Butler sounds a tad dubious, if only because the actor's recent oeuvre includes such Oscar kryptonite as The Bounty Hunter and The Awful Truth, but who am I to doubt a studio press release?
Machine Gun Preacher had been slated to languish on Lionsgate's shelf for the foreseeable future, with an approximate release date of "whenever we get around to it," as the studio focused on rolling out its glut of titles. In addition to Butler, the film stars Michelle Monaghan (Due Date), Kathy Baker (Cold Mountain), Michael Shannon (Superman: Man of Steel), Madeline Carroll (The Spy Next Door) and newcomer Souleymane Sy Savane (Goodbye Solo). It chronicles the true-life tale of Sam Childers, an American biker-gang member who found God, traveled to Sudan, and started an organization to aid victims of the Lord's Resistance Army, a para-military force infamous for its use of child soldiers.
Source: Relativity Media